• Food Shortages Continue Throughout All of Rakhine State as Rohingya Continue to Flee

    17 October 2017, London, UK – The Burma Human Rights Network has observed large scale food shortages throughout Rakhine State caused by restrictions on aid distribution for nearly all NGOs operating in the state besides the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who is working in coordination with Myanmar’s Relief and Resettlement Department (RRD). As a result several areas, which are dependent on aid, have gone long periods without any arriving. In the north of Rakhine State half the Rohingya population had already fled a military campaign the UN described as, “seeming like a textbook case of ethnic cleansing.” Those remaining in the north continue to flee at an alarming rate, but witness statements indicate they are doing so due to threat of starvation rather than a direct threat from the military. Similarly, food shortages have grown increasingly throughout the Rohingya areas in the rest of the state as new restrictions starting in September were imposed, preventing nearly all NGOs from delivering aid even outside of conflict areas. As a result there is legitimate cause for concern that a new exodus could also emerge from central Rakhine, not unlike the boat exoduses seen in the area in 2014.

    In Northern Rakhine Villagers have informed BHRN of large scale fleeing occurring daily. A villager in Thayet Kin Manu, in Buthidaung, stated that of the 165 households in his village, 30 had already fled with another 60 making preparations to do the same in the coming day. The reason, he said was “due to total blockade or restrictions and [because of] starvation people are fleeing continuously.” Another villager also in rural Buthidaung told BHRN, “Lots of people have fled from our village because of starvation and most are daily workers. We are poor because the government confiscated our paddy [field] Continue reading

  • Press Release: Rohingya in Buthidaung Fleeing Due to Starvation With Many Stranded and Unable to Escape

    11 October 2017, London, UK – The Burma Human Rights Network has been closely monitoring food shortages in Northern Rakhine State following a military crackdown that began in the region after militants attacked 30 police posts on August 25th, 2017. The military’s crackdown has been marked with widespread accusations of Crimes Against Humanity resulting in a mass exodus of nearly half of the Northern Rakhine State’s Rohingya population, leading even the UN to say it “seems a textbook case of ethnic cleansing.” Those remaining have faced continued restrictions on movement preventing them from working or gathering food at a time most aid has been blocked from the region and as a result several locations are facing dire food shortages that locals say may be leading to many areas facing threat of starvation. Northern Rakhine State is composed of three townships; Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung. Arson attacks were frequent in each township after the attacks on August 25th and continue to occur regularly in Maungdaw. Only five Rohingya villages remain undamaged in Rathedaung. Buthidaung has seen fewer arson attacks in recent weeks but worsening food shortages. As food supplies are dwindling many Rohingya, especially in Buthidaung, are fleeing to Bangladesh, but some have become stranded in the process, unable to cross. Rathedaung has previously seen severe shortages of food that caused a mass exodus where 11,000 Rohingya were stranded which was previously documented by BHRN. At the same time Bangladesh has begun a crackdown on boat operators, claiming that some are working as traffickers, which has prevented rescue of some of those stranded.

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Press Release: 11,000 Villagers in Five Rohingya Villages Face Dire Food and Aid Shortages Amid Threat of Violence

London, UK 25 September 2017 – The Burma Human Rights Network has been informed of dire need for aid in five Rohingya villages in Rathedaung Township where 11,000 people are currently living. Before the recent violence and military campaign there were 23 Muslim villages, but only five remain as the rest were reportedly burnt down and destroyed. At the same time the remaining residents of these villages have stated they are under threat from mobs in neighboring Rakhine villages that are not allowing them to flee or seek food and safety. As the situation is worsening we call on the Burmese Government to immediately allow aid to flow into these villages and that the villagers be protected from any hostile actors.

The villages in need are Nyaung Bin Gyi, Ah Naut Pyin, Sin Khon Taing, Arkar Taung and Kan Seik villages. Nyaung Bin Gyi and Ah Naut Pyin villages are composed of people displaced in the anti- Muslim riots of 2012. Residents in Nyaung Bin Gyi complained that food rations had been cut in June of last year and only a 1,391 villagers of the total 1,781 received their rations after they were restarted three months later. The remaining 400 have had to share among the total population, depleting the available food for the village.

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Burma Human Rights Network publishes research revealing state-led persecution of Burma’s Muslim minority

5th September 2017, London, United Kingdom: A human rights report released today reveals ongoing and systematic persecution of Burma’s Muslim minority by the country’s government.

The Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) conducted eight months of field work and more than 350 interviews. Testimony was collected from individuals in more than 46 towns and villages across the country, from Karen State in the east to Rakhine State in the west, and throughout central Burma.

Human rights violations, detailed in the report, include:

1. Problems for Muslims obtaining ID cards

Research by the BHRN reveals systematic refusal to allow Muslims to receive a government ID cards (known as ‘NRCs’). The way in which this manifests varies, but commonly reported problems include the flat-out denial of an NRC card to Muslims; the requirement that Muslims provide extensive, and often difficult to obtain, documentation that proves a family lineage dating back to before 1824; and the refusal by immigration authorities to register a Muslim person as solely Bama, the majority ethnicity in Burma. The denial of an NRC in Burma carries both material and ideological implications. Someone who fails to show an NRC when requested by police or another authority is likely to face harassment, and a penalty of a fine, or imprisonment, or both.

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!!!! Urgent: Help needed for over 30,000 Rohingya trapped on hillsides in Tha Win Chaung and Inn Din

2nd September 2017, London, United Kingdom - A group of displaced Rohingya believed to be larger than 30,000 people are reportedly stranded on a hill area around Tha Win Chaung and Inn Din townships in the most southern point of Maungdaw Township, bordering Rathedaung Township. The numbers of those isolated in the hills has accumulated since August 25th and continues to increase as military operations in the area continue. Those trapped on the hill are caught between the ocean miles south of the mouth of the Naf river and security forces fighting and stationed nearby. For this reason they are unable to escape and are isolated without access to food, water and medicine Some have already been reported as becoming ill, with a 56 year old woman reportedly dying of what is believed to be a heart attack, and a 55 year old woman believed to have died from a poisonous insect bite. Beginning August 25th, security forces carried out operations in Chain Khali and Koe Tan Kauk villages in Rathedaung Township resulting in the expulsion of 14,000 villagers who evacuated to nearby hills in Maungdaw township’s Tin Win Chaung and Inn Dinn townships over the following days. The assaults by security forces are said to have included arson attacks as many as 800 homes with many believed to have been killed in the attacks. Others from Tha Win Chaung and Inn Din fled at this time as well.

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